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Posts with tag AdventuresInBeta

Adventures in Beta: This is why we can't have nice things

Like Faience, I spent my end of beta event stuck in Shattrath City, watching world dragons get totally ignored by the city defenders. But apparently there was quite a lot of stuff going on in Azeroth that we missed, including ...

Everyone was waiting to catch a glimpse of Vashj, Kael'Thas and Illidan, but the GMs chose not to have them running wild around the world. It's too bad that events like this can't happen on live servers -- there are too many servers for GMs to cover them all, and people would complain about their playtime being disrupted. But still, thanks for a lovely end of beta event!

Filed under: Events, Humor, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Mr. Pinchy saves fishing

Fishing is widely considered the most boring secondary profession. You sit there, you wait for the bob, you click. You sit there, you wait for the bob, you click. The most you usually get are lucrative stonescale eels and the occasional bolt of runecloth. But sometimes, fishing can throw up something so awesome you have to bow down to its glory.

Enter Mr. Pinchy.

Roopert of the "OMG Zone Out" guild fished up a Mr. Pinchy in a deserted area of Outlands in November. Mr. Pinchy, named after Homer's pet lobster from the Simpsons, grants the bearer three wishes on a two-day cooldown. The wishes can turn out good ... or very, very bad. On the good side, you can receive a crawdad non-combat pet, a "Benevolent Mr. Pinchy" temporary combat pet, a box of potions, or a free two-hour death-proof 1200 health buff! If Mr. Pinchy is not in a good mood, however, you might have to fight a level 60 or 70 version of him.

I'm glad that Blizzard is throwing some neat, funny stuff into professions like fishing -- and I may have to get a Mr. Pinchy of my own someday when I really need that 1200 health.

(Note: I know the picture is of Dr. Zoidberg. I couldn't find a Mr. Pinchy screencap, and more Dr. Zoidberg is always a good thing.)

Filed under: Fishing, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Five things to pack for TBC (and five things to leave at home)

Following Paul's excellent TBC preparation post Tuesday, I asked my fellow beta testers what things they would recommend people bring through the Dark Portal, and what they would be best off leaving behind. So here, straight from the Home Office in Thrallmar, we have ... the top five things to pack for Burning Crusade!

  1. Runecloth. A unanimous choice of beta testers, since it takes 330 first aid skill to start creating Netherweave bandages, and Netherweave drops more often than Runecloth in the starting areas.
  2. Maxed-out tradeskills. The Grand Master profession trainers are waiting right in Hellfire Peninsula. If you're at all interested in using the new herbs and ores you'll find in Outland, you want to come in with 300 of everything. (Including Cooking and Fishing, if you're into that.)
  3. Healing potions. The Outlands are crowded, and mobs can often sneak up and attack you when you're just about to finish off your last opponent. To give yourself the extra edge, bring a stack of healing potions or ask a friendly alchemist. The alchemist will be making lots of Volatile Healing Potions to get his or her alchemy up, so you might be able to get a deal.
  4. Friends. So you and your friends have been split apart in five different raiding groups. Guess what? In the expansion, you're free to group with anybody without worrying about DKP or raid timers or stuff like that. So get that group of guys you used to run Strat with at 3 a.m., and have some good old retro dungeon runs. Outland can be a lonely place if you don't have anyone to party with.
  5. Patience (and rested experience). There will be delays, there will be headaches, there will be five million people trying to do the same quest as you and the Hellfire Peninsula general chat will be like Barrens chat all over again. Just relax and enjoy the scenery!

And here are five things not to bring:

  1. Resistance gear. Sell it or shard it. You'll need the bank slots, and there will be new resistance gear at 70. Seriously, get rid of it. It's a cathartic experience, like shedding the bad parts of your raiding past. Speaking of which ...
  2. The guy you know who takes his gear way too seriously. People with, shall we say, an unhealthy preoccupation with loot are going to freak out the first time one of their purples is replaced with a green. Unless you want to hear ten levels of complaining, don't party with this guy!
  3. A big pile of gold. A big pile of gold is never a bad thing, per se, but you get gold pretty fast in the Outlands. If you come in with "all the gold I'll need for my epic flying mount," there's a good chance that gold will be spent on trade skills, rare items and jewels.
  4. A tendency to alt-tab and surf the web. I learned the hard way that the Outlands have a lot of deep canyons, tall cliffs and nasty drops into the void of space. If you like autorunning and alt-tabbing, you will spend more than your fair share on repairs.
  5. A vacation. TBC is likely to bring hard times and unplayability to some WoW servers. Don't take a vacation from work or school and then feel cheated when you can't play. Plus, it's January. Take Jimmy Buffett's advice and go someplace warm instead.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Off-spec tankland

One of the first things you'll notice in The Burning Crusade is that just about everyone is an "off-spec." Since the primary focus of the first months of TBC will be to level as fast as you can, most people choose the highest damage-dealing talent build they can have for more efficient soloing. This makes perfect sense while everyone's soloing, but what do you do when you get into an instance? The old paradigm of "warrior, healer, three damage-dealers" goes out the window.

The most startling boost to off-specs is what's happened to feral druids and protection pallies. Before BC, almost all parties used a warrior as a tank. But because of increased threat generation for properly-specced druids and a general increase in paladin tanking abilities, both druids and pallies have been tanking endgame instances without too much difficulty. Druids now have better threat generation than warriors, making them possibly superior tanks for aggro-sensitive fights. Monday night, I tagged along as what I assumed to be an experienced bear druid tanked two wings of Hellfire Citadel without issue -- and then changed into nearly full Tier 3 to show us that this wasn't exactly what he usually did in instances.

Given that warriors were always the primary tanks of Warcraft, it's not surprising that the new competition from paladins and druids has some warriors a bit miffed. In a totally non-scientific poll on the beta forums, 90 percent of respondents preferred non-warrior tanks for 5-man instances (according to the poll's author, a rogue.)

What do you think? Should paladins and druids have equal tanking skills to warriors, or should warriors always be the first choice when a party is looking for a meat shield?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: How fast will you replace your gear?

It's one of the big questions of the expansion. Many people have worked for a long time to get their epic weapons and armor, whether they got it from grueling raiding, hardcore PVP or annoying reputation grinding. Then Burning Crusade comes along, and suddenly the slate is wiped clean. Or is it?

When I arrived in the beta, my rogue had two blues (Blackhand's Breadth and some horrible blue leggings I had grown attached to,) with the rest a mix of MC, BWL and AQ40 gear. Two levels later, I've replaced a bunch of that gear -- both blues, my Mandokir's Sting, my Cloak of Veiled Shadows, my Don Julio's Band and my Nightslayer Chestpiece are gone, and my Boots of the Shadow Flame and Taut Dragonhide Belt have received equal sidegrades.

From what I've seen, Tier 1 items will be replaced almost immediately, Tier 2 will last until the mid 60s, and Tier 3 will take you into the upper 60s and 70. At 70, Tier 4 (which largely drops in Karazhan) makes it a whole new ballgame again. In a Hellfire Citadel group today, the Tier 3 level 64 warlock was wearing nearly all of his old gear, while the 66 mage was mostly decked out in new stuff. (The druid also had Tier 3, but he was tanking for us, so he was wearing an odd mix anyway.)

If I had to recommend one high-level item to bring to BC, I would recommend that you bring weapons -- at least for melee, the High Warlord/Grand Marshal weapons will last you a long time, since weapon DPS doesn't jump up quite as fast as stats on armor. For example, a one-handed rogue sword that drops in Hellfire Peninsula will net you 52.5 DPS, as opposed to the 59 and change on the High Warlord gear.

Filed under: Rogue, Items, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Hunter pets are not cuddly

I was wandering, lost, through an orc encampment in Hellfire Citadel the other day when I came upon a nice hunter who offered to show me where the quest mob was. We grouped up, and I meleed while she stayed back and shot the mob. After it was dead I turned around, directly into the face of ... this THING. This horrible, horrible thing.

It turns out the THING is called a Warp Stalker, and it is a kind of baby dragon that istameable around level 63. Warp Stalkers have the new ability "Warp," which lets them teleport right to an enemy and gives them a 50 percent chance to miss its next attack. Pretty handy! And after a while, the warp stalker began to look kind of cute. At least compared to some of the other offerings in BC.

Petopia, the ultimate hunter pet site, has a whole section on the new pet families available for taming in Burning Crusade. These include:

  • Dragonhawks, cute little flying casters that come both in very low and very high-level versions. These guys can use Fire Breath, an AOE cone effect that causes damage over two seconds.
  • Nether Rays, low-stat fliers that can use all passive abilities.
  • Spore Bats, well-rounded pets that look kind of like jellyfish.
  • Ravagers, high-DPS insectoids who can bite, dash, gore, and use many other abilities.

There are also new models for cats, raptors and windserpents, all of which you can see at Petopia's site. Check it out!

Filed under: Hunter, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Meet the fel reaver

Remember those Devilsaurs in Un'Goro crater? Remember how they were giant, and ten levels above you at the time, and how they'd sneak up behind you somehow and eat you while you were peacefully picking a herb? Well, meet the Fel Reaver.

Fel Reavers are giant, level 70 plus automatons that roam the Hellfire Peninsula - BC's starting area. Much like the Devilsaurs, they are extremely large, deadly elites. However, they do make the ground shake long before they get to you, warning you to run far, far away. I didn't feel like testing out how hard they hit, but other testers reported 2300 crushing blows on cloth.

Because of the size and shaking of Fel Reavers, savvy beta testers learned to quickly avoid the enemies. And so Blizzard, in a pretty hilarious display of evil, replaced the skins of the Fel Reavers with those of bears. This added a new level of terror, as confused players looked around for the Fel Reaver after seeing the shaking, failed to notice the bear, and got pretty much insta-owned. This led to a lot of confusion and a lot of bad puns. The Fel Reavers are back to normal now, but the Fel Bears made quite an impact on the Beta community. When someone suggested that beta testers should get a special non-combat pet when BC goes live, one of the options was that of a bear cub with "Fel Reaver" written over its head.

Filed under: Expansions, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: The best little bugged item in Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta returns from a long, WoWless holiday break to a finally playable 60 character! And boy, do we have a doozy of a horribly bugged beta item for you!

After only a few hours in the starting area, I began to notice a bunch of corpses of high level "Vengeful Unyielding Knights" hanging around the Thrallmar environment. This was slightly worrisome. Were we going to fight level 87s? How vengeful, exactly, were these guys? Really vengeful?

Luckily, a quick trip to the WoW Beta General forums solved my questions. The unyielding knights spawn off two Horde-only quest rewards, the Blade of the Unyielding and the Rod of the Unyielding. Like many other items, these weapons have a chance to proc and create some knights as guardians. Unlike many other weapons, the proc can happen off of anything (mounting, creating items, casting spells) and the guardians are set to the item level, 87, instead of the player's level.

I was interested in reproducing this effect, so I went out and did the quest for it myself. I looted a book off of the ghosts of some Alliance knights and then helped them summon an old enemy so they could get revenge on the person who killed them. It was a pretty cool quest, and I received both the Blade of the Unyielding and a round of applause from the dead Alliance. I equipped the sword and went out grinding. The knights didn't live long and I couldn't control them, but they killed things ridiculously quickly and the proc was near-constant. I doubt the bugged items will make it into live, but if it does ... hoo boy, alliance on PVP servers better learn to recognize it fast!

Filed under: Horde, Items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Draenei Shaman, 6-10

I logged back into my draenei shaman where I left her -- stuck in Azure Watch, with a handful of new quests and no professions. Having already decided on jewelcrafting for my Blood Elf Paladin, I was stumped on what to give my shaman. I decided to pick up leatherworking and skinning so I could at least make some of my own armor - after all, it's not like I was out to make a ton of money on the test server. But there were no leatherworking trainers in Azure Watch (and no jewelcrafting either, which shocked me.) The local guards advised me to head to a furbolg camp in the north, filled with new allies that would be happy to teach me how to skin and make clothes.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Expansions, Draenei, Features, Screenshots, The Burning Crusade

Adventures in Beta: Draenei Shaman, Level 1-5

A couple weeks ago, I won a beta key. Pleased at getting to test out the expansion content, I happily waited for my key. And waited. And waited. Finally, on Wednesday, I received my World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Beta Key and installed the expansion. Then uninstalled the expansion. Then uninstalled my regular WoW, reinstalled it without patching, installed the Burning Crusade and patched that. I saved re-patching the live WoW for later, in case I began crying.

Finally, at 2:30 in the morning, I logged on and created my first character (my 60 main had yet to copy over.) Because I am lazy and want to see how the Horde and Alliance integrate their new classes, I chose to roll a draenei shaman. Also, I've never really tried to play a shaman or paladin, so it would be an experiment for me as well. I picked the "cute" draenei face, the Princess Leia buns that show off the the weird ear-tentacles draenei have, and some curly horns that looked slightly like racing stripes. And I was off!

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Filed under: Shaman, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Expansions, Draenei, Features, Screenshots, The Burning Crusade

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